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Middlebury flag-puller suspended for one year

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Posted on October 17, 2013 |
By Zach Despart



photo.jpg
Anna Shireman-Grabowski, kneeling, removes American flags from a 9/11 memorial on the Middlebury College campus Sept. 11. /Photo courtesy of The Middlebury Campus

MIDDLEBURY — The lone Middlebury College student that took part in the vandalism of a 9/11 memorial on the college’s campus has been disciplined, the college said in a statement.

Anna Shireman-Grabowski was suspended for one year for violating several college policies, including “General Conduct Standards, Respect for Persons and Respect for Property.”  The college did not name Shireman-Grabowski, but she identified herself as a participant in an online post shortly after the incident. Excerpts of this post were published in the Independent last month.

In the incident, five people: Shireman-Grabowski, Canadian political activist Amanda Lickers and three unidentified individuals who were not students removed flags placed in the ground as a memorial to those who lost their lives in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The flags were part of an annual memorial coordinated by the campus Republican and Democratic clubs. Lickers said the flags were desecrating an ancient Abenaki burial ground, though a local Abenaki chief told the Independent he was not aware of any such site on the Middlebury Campus.

The five placed the flags in garbage bags, and after being confronted by several students, fled the scene. That evening, students reconstructed much of the memorial. Benjamin Kinney-Harris, who helped organize the memorial, said the stolen flags were later returned to him, anonymously placed in a box outside his door.

Shireman-Grabowski appealed the suspension, but it was upheld Oct. 9 by the Middlebury Community Judicial Board. The CJB is made up of four students, one staff member, two faculty members and one dean. Middlebury College spokesman Stephen Diehl said Shireman-Grabowski, a senior, will be eligible for readmission in the fall of 2014.

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